Pinellas County pedestrian injuries from crashes totaled 384 in 2013, the last year of complete available statistics. The same year there were 26 fatalities reported. These numbers were down slightly from the previous year. 23 percent of the injuries occurred in St. Petersburg and 24 percent happened in unincorporated areas. Clearwater accounted for 15 percent followed by Largo and Pinellas Park at 12 and 8 percent respectively.
What makes Pinellas pedestrian injuries so commonplace is the fact that there are a large numbers of pedestrians in hazardous areas. Pinellas County has a large population of persons who do not drive, due to various reasons, such as immigration status and age. The ‘streets,’ in the area stretching from St. Petersburg through Clearwater, are often four lane highways, such as 49th St, with high speed limits, which are far from pedestrian friendly. Cars make U turns around dividers right through cross walks. Others make right turns on red without stopping or yielding to pedestrians in crosswalks. Pedestrians are often too slow to reach the other side before the “don’t walk” flashes, stranding them at the center divider or forcing them to try to beat the traffic stopped at the light.
Many of the roadways used by pedestrians in Pinellas County do not have sidewalks forcing pedestrians to walk on the shoulder of the road. Distracted drivers drift onto the shoulder causing a hazard for pedestrians. Long, mid-block, distances between traffic lights may cause pedestrians to cross four lane roads, attempting to beat cars traveling at 50 mph or greater.
What are some measures one can take to avoid pedestrian injuries caused by a motor vehicle?
- Do not cross between crosswalks. A car traveling at 50 MPH covers the length of a football field in the time it takes the average pedestrian to cover 12 feet. A driver’s stopping distance at that speed.is around 200 feet with a quick reaction time and good brakes.
- Wear light or reflective clothing if you must to walk at night. Consider carrying a flash light.
- Avoid walking when the sun is close to the horizon. Many pedestrian injuries occur due to sun glare.
- Always walk facing oncoming traffic. If a distracted driver should swerve toward you, you will have time to get out of the way.
- Pay attention to the walk/don’t walk signs. Wait until you have a fresh timed start. Do not rush to cross after the timer has been running. If you should get stranded at the divider, remain there until the next signal. Do not try to beat the traffic.
- Beware of cars making a right turn on red from behind you. Do not assume they see you and will yield. The drivers are often focused to their left for approaching vehicles.
- Never cross an intersection diagonally. .
- Make sure that traffic comes to a full stop before crossing at a light. Do not assume that they will not run the light. Once again beware of the distracted drivers.
Any person who is struck by a car will, in most cases, require medical attention. If they do not have any form of personal injury insurance their only relief is from their own health insurance company if they have one. That will cover some of their medical expenses. What about their pain and suffering and loss of income, which could be very extensive or even permanent? The other drivers no fault insurance may pay some of their medical bills but that is all. The injured pedestrian may have a claim against the driver involved in the crash if negligence (carelessness) can be proven.
A driver is required by Florida Law to yield to a pedestrian in a designated crosswalk. If there is a traffic light the pedestrian must obey the signal to cross. In mid-block a pedestrian must yield to oncoming vehicles. However if a pedestrian is struck in mid-block the driver is not always completely without fault. There are factors such as speed that can play a role in determining fault. Anyone who is stuck and injured by a motor vehicle should seek the help of a pedestrian accident attorney. The attorney will have the experience and resources to determine if there was negligence on the part of the driver.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA has successfully represented countless Pinellas County pedestrian injury victims. Compensation has been awarded for medical bills past present and future, lost income present and future, pain and suffering, diminished quality of life and more. If you or a loved one has suffered from Pinellas County pedestrian injuries, contact a personal injury attorney at Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA 727-451-6900 for a free consultation. There is no cost or obligation.
Sibley Dolman Gipe Accident Injury Lawyers, PA
800 North Belcher Road
Clearwater, FL 33765